Australia’s men’s rugby team, better known as the Wallabies, (brand value up 69% to USD101 million, AUD149 million) has experienced an impressive 69% increase in brand value since the last Rugby World Cup, maintaining its 7th place ranking.
Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes over 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 10 most valuable and strongest rugby team brands are included in the Brand Finance Rugby 10 2023 ranking.
The Wallabies’ brand value growth can be attributed to robust revenues and forecasts following the challenges posed by COVID-19, which coincided to the conclusion of a 3-decade-long partnership with Quantas.
For now, The Wallabies continue to be the flagship for Australian rugby, and will continue to leverage high-profile international rugby events, such as the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour in 2025 and the home World Cups down the line, to alleviate financial challenges and drive the game’s growth.
However, the Wallabies face concerning challenges ahead. The Wallabies’ Brand Strength Index (BSI) score has dropped significantly, falling 8 points since 2019, from 81 to 73 out of 100. This is the largest decline of all top 10 national rugby team brands. This decline is primarily driven by a weaker on-pitch performance which has reduced fan engagement and sentiment towards the Wallabies.
The team’s early exit from the World Cup is likely to place further downward pressure on negative sentiment and the game’s popularity compared to other football codes and Australian sport in general. Looking ahead, this decline in brand strength is likely to also erode the Wallabies’ brand value, unless a significant effort made to restore perceptions and improve governance.
Mark Crowe, Managing Director, Australia of Brand Finance said, “The Wallabies brand faces immense pressure both on and off the pitch. Rugby Australia needs to balance the ability to compete against other rugby markets, like Europe and Japan, in providing competitive player renumeration while maintaining development programmes.
“The early exit from this year’s World Cup is going to intensify this pressure and now, more than ever, it is essential that Rugby Australia works to reform the game and improve participation.”
The All Blacks top the ranking once again with a brand value of US$282 million
The New Zealand All Blacks (brand value up 52% to USD282 million, NZD 452 million) have continued to assert their dominance as the world’s most valuable rugby team brand, despite their on-pitch authority increasingly being challenged by other rugby nations. The All Blacks retained the top position for brand value, achieving a 52% increase since the last world cup. This growth is attributed to robust revenues, particularly in sponsorship and merchandising over the past four years.
In addition to calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics including marketing investment via social media, stakeholder equity such as heritage, and business performance through revenues from sponsorship, merchandising, and so on.
The All Blacks not only hold the title of the most valuable national rugby brand but also maintain the highest level of brand strength with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 88.9 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA rating.
England holds firm in second
England Rugby (brand value up 71% to USD264 million, GBP219 million) claim second spot once again, despite entering the World Cup on less-than-great form. England Rugby’s brand value growth is not without thanks to boasting the highest total revenue of all national rugby brands.
France surges to top 3 in terms of brand value and brand strength
France Rugby (brand value up 84% to USD159 million, EUR154 million) has emerged as one of the standout winners in this year’s ranking, surging into 3rd place both in terms of brand value and brand strength. This impressive growth can be attributed to the excitement surrounding the home World Cup and Les Blues’ outstanding team performance, currently ranked as the world’s number 2.
Ireland, the World Number 1 ranked team, overtakes Wales and South Africa
Propelled by its 15th Six Nations win in March 2023, Ireland Rugby (brand value up 94% to USD150 million, EUR145 million) is another rising brand as 2023’s fastest-grower. Ireland Rugby’s 94% increase in brand value has seen the current world’s number 1 overtake Wales Rugby (brand value up 23% to USD132 million, GBP109 million) and South Africa Rugby (brand value up 44% to USD117 million, ZAR1,989 million) to become the 4th most valuable national rugby team brand.